So much of what he says about his journey into medicine resonates with me, but this one section captures it all perfectly:
"A typical day in my life went something like this:
It begins with a mad scramble from room to room seeing complicated, sick and scared patients and their families, followed by three hours of paperwork using an electronic medical record that's two keystrokes away from becoming sentient and destroying humanity, all the while answering phone-calls from insurance companies, colleagues, and administrators each asking that I do more and more with less and less while improving quality and patient satisfaction. And speaking of which, that patient for whom I refused Vicadin because I was convinced it was destroying his life just ripped me a new one on Yelp! And I get through my 31st voice mail and I'm trying to delete it and it won't delete and I'm thinking I have to call I.T. now and I realized the reason it won't delete is that it's a live person I'm talking to. And it's my wife. And she's asking me to come home.
When I finally do get home, I can't be present with my two little girls because all I can think about is 'could I have missed something in this insane shuffle that could hurt or kill somebody?' Later, rinse, repeat for an entire career."
"Enough was enough. I realized I had a choice to make. I could either submit to this insane system and retire and then do my thing, but have my soul crushed and join the ranks of the swelling physician-zombie apocalypse. Or, I could surrender.
Just give up the external validation, drop the mask, and really surrender to who I actually was and have some hope of reconnecting to my purpose."
I need to do that. Dr Damania and Iora Health understand the fundamentals of providing the right kind of care. If we weren't wasting so much time and energy on all kinds of things that don't really matter, we could start to care for people again.
How can we do it?
- remember "medicine is about human relationships"
- "fix the reimbursement system . . make it an affordable, flat fee that incentivizes everyone to keep everybody well."
- "revolutionize the care model and the culture of the team; health coaches, nurse practitioners, doctors, and patients working together collaboratively non-hierarchically to change the health of the whole community"
- "glue it together with technology that helps rather than obstructs
- "do things FOR people instead of TO people"
I want to be a part of a clinic like that!